Feather Fountain Pen Set

One of the presents that I was very grateful to receive was a Feather Fountain Pen set. I had looked at these before and thought I might like one but wasn’t sure. They look unique though you cannot really try them in the shop so it seemed a bit of a gamble to buy one. I have two Fountain pens already, and not being a collector, I am very happy with the two pens, a Lamy Safari and a Waterman Hemisphere.

I used it for the first time last night and was very happy with how if felt in my hand, writing, in fact, I wrote a poem with last night. I also like the nib that was fitted to the pen, a Finer point. I love writing with Fine or Extra Fine nibs. As you can see, it comes with a selection of nibs and I am looking forward to trying them out.

There are more expensive Feather Fountain Pen sets available, however, I feel that this will be a great introduction to these type of writing tools. Looking forward to using it again.

Happy Writing All!

Written by David Johnson

26 December 2022

Summer Beauties

Well, it’s been the best Spring/Summer for blooming Cacti flowers that I’ve had in quite a few years!

Here are a couple of more beauties…

The series of 3 images is from a Notocactus variation, and the Yellow flower is from an Echinopsis variation.

At the end of the flowering season I shall put together a post showing all the flowers that have bloomed from my Cacti and Succulents this time around.

Looking forward to the next beauty!

Written by David Johnson

15 December 2022

Orange & Yellow

Say ‘Hello’ to my latest Cacti flowers, from my Parodia Mairanana!

I was walking up the side of the house (that we just moved to) and something caught the corner of my eye…it was the gorgeous colour of these flowers.

My Cacti and Succulents (before we moved) had grown to 160 plants. Some of them were duplicates, most not and I have realised that my hobby was getting out of hand. We intend to buy a house next year, however, after the latest move I have come to the conclusion that I need to downsize my collection.

We had a garage sale before moving and I sold/offloaded about 50 plants, reducing my collection to 110. This is still a lot of plants to move, particularly when you consider the size of some of the plants and the pots.

I am going to bite the bullet and pick out my favourite say, 30 plants and have another garage sale.

I also think that I am going to change direction slightly in terms I what future Cacti and Succulent plants I will buy, i.e., I think I will aim for the smaller, flowering plants. There will still be some columnar plants but mainly smaller Ball-type ones.

Written by David Johnson

28 November 2022

A Day To Relax…

Today, Susan and I went down to Berrima, which is about 1 hour’s drive South of where we live, to celebrate 28 years since we went out to dinner for the first time way back on 19 November 1994. We were a week late in celebrating as we were moving house last week.

After all that has been happening in the last 4-5 months, it was delightful to get away for the day and relax.

As is normal, the first stop is Berkeleouw’s Book Barn which houses approximately 100,000 books. It used to be, however, the help the business survive, they kept a reduced amount of books and added Wedding Receptions, a cafe/restaurant, accommodation, and wine tasting to the business.

We spent just under two hours there and (in a separate post) I’ll talk about the books I purchased.

After Berkeleouws, we had a delicious lunch at Josh’s Cafe and Restaurant which is located in the actual town of Berrima. We have been eating there for many years and are always delighted with the food, service, and atmosphere.

From there, we ventured into a few shops (as we normally do), including ‘Mrs. OldBucks’ (jams, sauces, honey, teas, etc), ‘Six Impossible Things’ (various boutique items including writing materials, dip pens, ink, journals, books, and other tourist-inspired goodies). Our last stop was ‘Sticky Beaks Vintage Emporium which consists of a number of smaller antique sellers within a larger shop.

All-in-all a very relaxing day that helped us celebrate one of the most special days in our lives!

Looking forward to next year’s celebration!

Written by David Johnson

26 November 2022

More Beauties!

It has been a bit of a challenge posting in this past week as we are in the process of moving. Always a fun task, not!

Following on from my last post, I can excitedly report that two more of my Cacti and Succulents have flowered in the past week.

The first is an Aylosteria pulvinosa. It is only a small Cacti plant measuring 5cm across and has had pups and the flowers in the image are (apart from that flowered last week) the first full crop of flowers that this plant has produced.

The second plant to flower this week (in fact it bloomed today), is an Epiphyllum Hybrid which is sometimes mistakenly called a ‘Dragonfruit’ plant, according to the Cacti and Succulent Association of Australia. I joined the Society nearly 12 months ago and am learning a lot.

I love the rich, Red colour of this flower which really contrasts well against the Green foliage of the plant.

Two more beauties from my collection that have flowered so far in Spring.

I am so looking forward to the rest of Spring and Summer!

Written by David Johnson

12 November 2022

A Fleeting Beauty!

One of my other hobbies is Cacti and Succulents. As mentioned previously, I have had them as an interest for the last 45 years (since I was 14).

I’m not an expert by any means and although I collect them I do not regard myself as ‘true collector’, like a lot of the people that are in the Cactus & Succulent Society of Australia, which I joined during the last Covid lockdown in 2021.

I enjoy their uniqueness and beauty.

Yesterday, one of my Ball Cacti, of the Echinopsis variety, flowered for the first time ever and I thought that was worth of a post.

The stem of the flower has been growing for a number of weeks and leading up to the point of flowering, there is always great anticipation, particularly when you don’t know what colour the flower will be. I walked out the side door yesterday and upon walking past our cattery that holds our single Cat, Miri, the flower came into full view.

I never tire of this type of flower’s exquisite beauty! It begins to open nocturnally and we are blessed with its beauty in the morning. The flower only blooms for 24-48 hours, then its gone. A fleeting beauty.

Written and photographed by David Johnson

4 November 2022

Discovering New Places…

I love surprises, particularly when they are totally unexpected and have to do with discovering things that you thought you would have known about, but obviously didn’t…

To explain…

Yesterday, after visiting Red Point Artist’s Association (where I am a member) at Port Kembla, we followed up on a tip from one of the other creatives. They suggested we visit an area of Port Kembla Harbour we had not previously been to.

There is a concrete breakwater that is approximately 1 km (0.6 miles) long at the harbour and I was quite looking forward to seeing and exploring it. When we arrived, the entrance was blocked off as perhaps it had sustained damage in last week’s storms. I took a couple of reference photos and we left as we wanted to take a look at the Port Kembla Heritage Park which was on the other side of the bay.

In the park we discovered Art installation (that relates to industrial action back in 1938), Tank Traps and old Battery Ports.

For me though, the best discovery of the afternoon was yet to come…

I was wandering around the edge of the park, mainly concentrating on looking across to the harbour, the breakwater and a cargo ship that was making its entrance when I turned around and saw some different shaped rocks and started to notice the different shades of colour in them plus I noticed a fair-sized rock pool nearby. It was still overcast at this point so I was looking forward to seeing them with sunlight on the scene. I didn’t have to wait long…this is what I saw.

Needles to say, I could immediately see possibilities for sketching, painting and photography and I am looking forward to going back there on different occasions, in different lighting to interpret the scene via these mediums.

I’ve included some more iPhone images below to give you an idea of just how beautiful an area it is. It is 1 hour’s drive away on a Sunday. How did I not visit there before now!? Sometimes, the best places are ‘right under our noses…’.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

10 July 2022

A Space To Learn, Create & Express!

As I’m not a full-time Artist I need to be organised enough to find those capsules of time that enable me to play and create. From 1982 to say 2014, Photography was my ‘vehicle of creative escape’. In 2010, I completed a 6-week Drawing course and over the ensuing 8 years Drawing/Sketching/Painting (Oils) and Photography jockeyed for the position of my No. 1 ‘escape from life’ method.

In late 2018, Watercolour came storming back (along with Line and Wash) and, they became an increasing part of my existence. With the commencement of my Watercolour Sketch a Day/Daily Art Practice on 26 January 2019, both of these forms are the predominant way I like to express myself in terms of Art.

In-between though, Oils have been present although my Oil habit has been in hiatus this year, until last week. I intend to do more in Oils and have several ideas in mind for paintings.

Back to my initial sentence.

Not only do I need to find capsules of time, I needed to have a proper space. No actual studio here however. Over time, I have been re-purposing our 3rd bedroom.

On Thursday I purchased an Art and Craft desk which has an adjustable drawing surface. I used for the first time today and love it.

I now have a desk dedicated to Watercolour/Sketching, a desk dedicated to Oil painting and my computer desk. No more re-purposing desks/clearing space for something else and wasting time in the process.

Whilst I do most of my sketching/painting on weekends (apart from the Watercolour sketches that are done each day), I am now looking to schedule some nights during the week when I can avail myself of my ‘creative space’.

There is also a comfy 2-seater cane chair where I can sit back, pick up my Fountain Pen and write Poetry, read or just contemplate…

A space to learn, create and express.

Written by David Johnson

4 June 2022

PS: After writing this I came across the following great article about Artist’s Studios by Judith on her site, Artistcoveries.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/45138733/posts/4052582242

Illuminate!

A local Festival not far from us that has been going every year since 2016, (except for the Covid-19 years in 2020 and 2021) is the Illuminate Festival.

It is held in Picton, New South Wales, Australia which is located 90 kilometres/56 miles South West of Sydney. Picton is about 10 – 15 minutes drive from where we live.

You may have heard of or seen the Sydney Vivid Festival, where works of Art are projected onto buildings and other structures at night.

Picton is a much smaller version of that, and it also has Art and Craft market stalls, food stalls and all manner of other stalls plus live bands and the Annual Wollondilly Art Exhibition. It is held late May and Susan and I attended it recently.

The Art Exhibition and the projected lights are the biggest drawcard for me however, on the day/night a live local Blues group called, ‘Monkey’s Uncle’ was a definite delight!

Here are some iPhone images from the Festival.

Written by David Johnson

3 June 2022

Moments – The Car Wash

Are we grabbing opportunities when they arrive?

In our lives, there are many ‘moments’ that we have the opportunity to do something different with that moment, but we don’t think of ways how we can use those moments better. I’ve been thinking over time ‘how I’ve used some of my moments?’

I’m talking about those moments when you are waiting… it might be for an appointment, waiting to go somewhere or sitting in your car in a car wash, like I was on late Sunday afternoon.

To be sure, we could just sit and think and watch the spray etc. Instead, I used the opportunity to explore the car wash with my phone camera. I did this before, many years ago with a car wash that used brushes however this was a brushless car wash.

Below are the results.

Next time you are sitting in a car wash, pull out your camera and see what interesting images you can come up with.

Looking forward to my next visit to the car wash!

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

31 May 2022